Four freelancing rules you need to break today
As a longtime freelancer, I'm often surprised by the misconceptions that new writers have about the business. They have an idea that experienced writers have access to a "secret" set of rules they go by to succeed, but the truth is that every writer's path to success is a little different.
As a result, breaking so-called rules like the following four can help you create a lucrative freelance career.
Rule #1: You Must Write About Everything
Yes, it's true that some writers can and do cover nearly every topic imaginable. But I'm telling you that the most successful writers specialize by choice. establishing themselves in niches helps them get more assignments, and become known for their knowledge and expertise in certain subject areas.
Clients and editors want writers who are familiar with the subjects they write about.
This is especially critical if you're a new writer. Start your career by pitching and writing about stories you already have a background in; you can always branch out from there. Choosing to narrow your focus is a better bet than being willing to try to cover everything.
Rule #2: You Market Yourself by Querying Potential Clients
Even new freelancers know the importance of writing strong queries and letters of introduction. But that's no longer the only way you should market yourself. Your social media presence, for example, is a critical but often overlooked marketing tool as a freelancer.
What does your LinkedIn profile say about your experience and your skills? Can a potential client find you based on it? Are you Tweeting news of interest that might catch the eye of an editor you'd like to work for?
And make sure that you use an email signature that describes what you do; it's a free mini-advertisement every time you send an email.
Rule #3: You Want as Many Clients as Possible
This sounds like a good idea, but actually it's not. It's much more efficient to write for a handful of clients on a regular basis than to do one assignment for dozens of different clients.
So instead of going after as many client as possible, pursue better clients that you think you can write for more than once and consistently pitch strong ideas.
Turn your assignments in early, and offer other ideas to keep you "front of mind" for your editor and you'll become one of her go-to writers.
Rule #4: Your Education Matters
You know what? Where you went to college—or if you went at all—pales in comparison to your ability to understand a market, pitch ideas that will work for it, and report and write clearly and concisely.
So forget about highlighting your collegiate requirements and focus on demonstrating your knowledge of the market and your ability to create content that will make your editor happy.
Always mention a recent article to let the editor know you've studied her publication, and make sure that your pitch matches the tone of the market you're pitching and you'll have a leg up on your competition.
So don't be afraid to break the rules—and stand out!
Guerrilla Freelancing preaches unconventional marketing tactics, and a unique approach to freelance business, so it's obvious that an article telling you to break the rules belongs here for you to read and get motivated by.
So stop reading, go out get your freelance business moving forward.
And break some rules while you're at it.
Author: Kelly James-Enger
Kelly James-Enger is the owner of Improvise Press, which publishes books for creative people who want to profit from their passions, including Dollars and Deadlines: Make Money Writing Articles for Print and Online Markets and Six-Figure Freelancing: The Writer's Guide to Making More Money, Second Edition